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Press Release

June 7, 2018

Contact: Adam Lynn
Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 918-473-5572
alynn@okhistory.org
www.okhistory.org/honeysprings

USAO Students to Provide Guided Tours at Honey Springs Battlefield

CHECOTAH, Okla. — Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center is pleased to announce a unique tour opportunity at the site. Students from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) will serve as tour guides on the six trails that cross the 1,100-acre battlefield on three Saturdays in June and the day of the annual memorial of the battle in July—June 9, 16 and 30 and July 14. The students will point out the exact locations of military actions, highlight key aspects of the engagement, and discuss its historical importance.

Normally, the park and its six trails are self-guided with a total of 55 trail markers. Through a special historical interpretation course taught by Dr. James Finck at USAO, students will travel approximately three hours from their classroom in Chickasha, Okla., to serve as tour guides at Honey Springs Battlefield. Already trained about the battle and the trails during the class, these students will add to the overall visitor experience by interpreting key elements of the engagement in the environment where they actually occurred.

The Battle of Honey Springs, the largest of approximately 107 documented Civil War military engagements to occur in what is now Oklahoma, took place on July 17, 1863, just two weeks after the famous Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg. Approximately 9,000 Union and Confederate troops, mostly American Indians and African Americans, fought here in what is thought to be one of the most culturally diverse battles to take place in the entire Civil War. Approximately 300 total casualties were suffered. After a decisive Union victory, Confederates lost control of Indian Territory north of the Arkansas River. The Union victory also ensured Federal control of Fort Gibson in Indian Territory and Fort Smith in Arkansas.

Before or after touring the battlefield, visitors are welcome to tour the new Honey Springs Visitor Center located just south of the main battlefield. Although the permanent exhibits are not yet in place, visitors will enjoy a temporary exhibit now on display at the Visitor Center entitled “Of Influence: Portraits of Cherokee People” on loan from the Oklahoma History Center. There is also a 20-minute orientation video about the battle at the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center has a gift shop with many Civil War-related items for purchase. Admission to the Visitor Center is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.

For more information regarding the special guided tour days and Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center, please email honeysprings@okhistory.org or alynn@okhistory.org, or call 918-473-5572. Dr. James Finck also can be contacted at jfinck@usao.edu for additional tour guide information. Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center is located east of U.S. Highway 69 between Oktaha and Rentiesville. The Visitor Center is located on a hill within close proximity to the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in Rentiesville, Okla. Take the second left after reaching the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame Museum (driving from the west). Directions to the battlefield will be provided upon arrival at the Visitor Center.

Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.

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